Review by TMaster

"A gem whose action and story are both at high peaks."

In the distant future, mankind has reached the peak of technology. Jahnan Corp. developed a cross international artificial intelligence system known as Baldr. It has now covered the whole earth and is regarded as god. Thus began the golden age of absolute machine communism.

There were those who supported the movement, and those who opposed it. Soon, over 700 terrorist crimes were committed by both sides. In order to prevent the two parties from destroying each other, the Baldr System Observation and Surveillance Agency (BS-OSA) was assembled. Yet, the Baldr Fellowship Association who supported the Baldr System believed that BS-OSA is out there to destroy the system. It seemed that the stage is set and the sparks of war have been ignited...

Baldr Bullet is an action game that shines through all those ever so similar first person shooting games that many current action games are. It's a combination of bird's eye view with Virtual On. The player no longer have to pilot those turtle speed mechs that are so slow at turning and dodging enemy artillery. This means more actions and less frustration.

The mechs in the game are known as HAWS, or Heavy Architect and Weapon System. It is built with auto-detection so that the players don't need to spend time trying to just aim at the enemy. Of course, this doesn't mean the weapons always hit. It means that you don't need to waste time adjusting the mech's aiming and can focus more on the movement and weapon combinations.

Only a selected few are available at the beginning of the game, but later more weapons can be combined from current weapons. The weapon also has a level system. The higher the level, the more powerful they are.

Baldr Bullet doesn't have ammunition limits. It does, however, have heat meters. Cooling down is frequent and each weapon can only be used once before the system cools down. This is to prevent weapon abuse.

The game uses the number pad for directional control and Z, X, and C for weapons. The number 5 is a special charge button that doesn't exist in many other games besides the Baldr Games. It is great for cutting into enemy's side and start close combat attacks.

Graphic wise, the game uses 3D sprites but due to the bird's eye view it feels just like 2D without cel shading. In today's standards, Baldr Bullet may not have the best 3D graphics. However, it does prove that a game can still be enjoyable without all the cutting edge graphics that today's games tend to focus a lot on.

The game soundtrack is what I call marvelous. Tunes change depending on the story and situation. What's more important is that the songs fit the game quite nicely. Unlike games that are all concentrated on heart pounding music, Baldr Bullet also has some soft scores that can catch your heart.

The replay value of Baldr Bullet is fairly decent. There are several endings, each with its own bosses. The endings of Baldr Bullet are all solid endings and from what I've seen they are all somewhat equal, which is something hard to accomplish for multi-ending games. Besides multiple endings, Baldr Bullet also has a feature that allows the player to continue finished games and carry on the weapon data from the previous game. This is so that the player will be able to master all the weapons. There's also the survival mode that does not end no matter what. The player basically eliminates every enemy in the stage and go on to the next stage. It can get really difficult in the later stages once the enemy becomes tough to handle.

Baldr Bullet does have its down side. Its first weakness is that it does not support two players nor it support net battles. Its second weakness is that the Japanese version of the game is a H-game (its Chinese version is not). Its third weakness is that it is only available in either Japanese or Chinese. If the player doesn't understand either language, then they missed out on one of the most juicy parts of the game. They can still, however, enjoy the action.

Overall, Baldr Bullet is a decent game that never got much attention in the states. It is one of those uncovered diamonds that was buried under piles of rubble that only a few has uncovered. It is one game that makes me think why does a H-game company can develop such a fun action game while all the American big shots can't.

Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/15/04

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